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  1. S02.E10: Merry Ex-Mas

    Loved, loved LOVED this episode. Especially the Marine and his daughter. And yes, every one of the pieces of music used was on point, too. I didn't see the twist coming because I was thinking "Bailey" and the whole Capra influence. Am I a bad person for wishing that when the EMT found the missing body part in the restaurant, she should have cheerily said "Jenna...boop. Got you nose?" I was just about to post about the Eva Air airplane as well. When I saw that I was thinking it was going to be even further mis-directed than MKE. But why didn't his cellphone show up on Maddie's E911 map display? That call would have ended much quicker, and more believably, since bringing back a guy who's been in asystole for that long doesn't usually end up well. Chock it up to a Christmas miracle, I guess. The story line of Maddie's ex will indeed be difficult to watch, and I fear will play out over too many weeks, but after the last few episodes of this show I think the writers have the chops to get it right. I hope they do, at least. It's a story that definitely needs to be told. I could even see the writers killing Maddie to drive the real issue home to viewers. 100% correct. Yippie-ki-yay....
  2. S02.E09: Hen Begins

    I enjoyed it, despite its many anvils and standard network-TV dramatic tropes. The formula never changes in these kinds of stories, but tonight I'll forgive it because if it gets just one person interested enough to become a member of the fire service or get into EMS work it will have been a rousing success. I personally don't care about your plumbing or your personal life. I care that whoever answers the call will be able to pull my fat ass out of the fire (literally) or cardiovert me and do compressions if I'm in V-fib after one too many barbecue suppers. I sincerely hope tonight's episode will persuade some young people to head down to their local volunteer fire departments or rescue squads, or put in their applications to paid departments. We old-timers can thank Johnny and Roy for at least two generations of paramedics and firefighters (and edited to add Sam Lanier's cool, calm voice spawned a couple of generations of dispatchers, too). Here's hoping Hen's story and all the other ones we're seeing on the various shows keeps up the tradition.
  3. S07.E07: What Will Define You

    Old shows are expensive and don't deliver the numbers of newer shows (i.e. they generate less revenue). CF is an expensive show to begin with, its numbers are well below its first two seasons, so NBC's choice becomes kill the show entirely or pare it back and get costs under control. I don't know when the main cast's contracts are up for renewal, but after 7 seasons I'd wager this is the final year for many of them (their contracts, not necessarily their characters). But I can see a few more cast changes happening if they're renewed for an 8th season. New actors cost less than veterans, and in an ensemble show we can learn to love new characters. Personally I think the One Chicago night is a good thing. I generally like the universe they playin, despite it's often poor writing.
  4. S07.E07: What Will Define You

    Frankly I'd prefer a chief or boss who's a serious hardass, and who isn't afraid to push people to (and beyond) their limits, especially in training, because when the bells go off you gotta act on instinct and trust your training. Nice guy or jerk, I don't care, just so long as that person knows the job and can shove that knowledge into a young skull full of mush. I can't learn all that well from a touchie-feelie instructor whose head is buried up his butt in a book. In anything I do I always go straight for the old SOB who's seen and done it all. I figure if I learn half of what he's forgotten I'll beat out the whippersnappers.
  5. S07.E07: What Will Define You

    FDNY has signal 5-5-5-5 but yeah. Gets me every damned time. But the one that hits home the hardest is an End Of Watch/final response radio message. I think I heard a TV show do that once as well. Yeah. Right in the damned feels. If Benny was that beloved in the department then he would have had an awful lot of guys from his command at the funeral and his colleagues as well as bosses. Where the hell was Grissom? If Benny's plea before he snuffed it was moving enough to sway Grissom, you'd think he'd have been there with bells on. Don't get the hesitation with Brett. Just tell the officer investigating the accident what you observed and that's that. He or she will dig around. No Big Wrenching Decision needed; it's done all the time. And it's not as if the penalties for texting-while-driving are life altering either. Yes, the BadThing happened (the accident). She'll get a ticket, pay the fine and (hopefully) be remorseful and never do it again. A quick Google search shows a cellphone ticket in IL is $75, but can be upgraded to a misdemeanor or felony if an accident that involves injury or death ensues. So probably at worst she'd get a slap on the wrist.
  6. S2 05: Do a Little Harm...

    He's not a pencil pusher at HQ. He's the chief of the department, and even in this crazy show-world, he'd be the highest ranking officer on the fireground—which we saw at the high-rise job. He sure is in charge of evaluating her, etc. When (not if) that relationship goes pear-shaped he has absolute authority to give her the worst shifts and assignments, put her career on an unpleasant path, and ultimately it could be his job to fire her. Or worse still, on another big job, put her in a position where she could die in the line of duty. And of course, even if the relationship doesn't go bad, there are so very many Horrible Things that could result from the chief hooking up with a subordinate like that, especially one who's afraid of fire. What happened to the writing on this steaming hot mess of a show between last season and this? Last year had its problems, but this is Fire Department High School ferheavensakes. There's exactly zero willing suspension of disbelief. I'm loathe to drop a show centered around the FD, but this may be the first. The last 3 episodes I zapped through in 20 minutes.
  7. S06.E06: True or False

    In a dramatic piece for TV, etc, that's definitely an issue. In real life, they simply follow the evidence. It's not the job of the (real) police to go to the ends of the earth to exonerate a suspect. If something happens to turn up in the normal course of an investigation then fine. But otherwise, their job is to investigate, charge, and testify to the facts of the investigation at trial. It would be up to the defense attorney to find that video surveillance from the park and (hopefully) any other evidence to clear his name. I think most of us wish that if we were ever in an interrogation room, falsely accused of a crime, that the PD would jump through hoops to make sure they didn't lay a charge against an innocent person, but that's not how it works, for better or ill. Now I'm not talking about fabricating evidence or beating a forced confession out of someone, or holding them in a torture cage in the garage here, just normal investigatory work.
  8. S06.E06: True or False

    Too many procedural problems in this one for me, and ironically, the one thing that tipped the scales in the story (Haley in the box with the initial suspect) was the part that actually rang true; she conducted a great interview and got the desired result. Retired cop and I were chatting about this today after breakfast and what she did in there was bang-on the right way to elicit a confession if the suspect hasn't lawyered up. Find his weakness, play to it and take your time. If he's weak, scared, or confused, he'll break. But the problem is that once he got I.D.'d in the lineup, and after failing to budge with what it turned out to be his real story, they would have easily had enough evidence to charge him, pass him along to the State's Attorney's office and move on to the next case. They wouldn't have even bothered with a real lineup...it's not done like that any more anyways. Show a 6-pack, circle the suspect you identify, sign it and that's it. That's enough to get an arrest warrant. That they found the Honda with the shot out back window would almost certainly be enough to secure a conviction, and they probably wouldn't have thought twice about the entire case. Tell the Alderman we got the guy, the evidence is solid, and walk away. The point is, there was no need to break him in questioning. Contrary to what many people think, a confession here would have been nothing more than icing on the cake. IRL, you gather the evidence, get a positive ID, bring the guy in and confront him. Give him a chance to "explain his side" and fill in details, maybe provide motive, tell you where the weapon is, and so on. If he keeps BSing, and you have enough other evidence, walk out and charge him, and that's it.
  9. S7 E6: All The Proof

    This episode didn't suck. The telenovella plotline was silly, of course, but a fun little B-plot (or C-plot). I think the showrunner had to bring in Naomi as Gabby 2.0 for the same reasons they foisted Dawson on us, only maybe with an actor who polls better with audiences. And if that's the case, they got it back-asswards. I loved Ms. Raymund. She owned that part and sold it well. I just detested the character and her testicle lockbox for DoorMatt™. Why does Casey even need a love interest anyway? At least for a season or two. I don't hate Naomi, I'm just getting bad vibes about where her character is going. But that said, I'd rather see a romantic interest for him from outside the fire service. Speaking of Casey and the fire service, he did a good job explaining that he actually knows why, when, and how to vent a roof. So I expect to see 81 up on the shingles with a K12 and chain-saws next time there's a working house fire, m'kay? Wish they hadn't killed off Severide's dad and retired Orlovsky in the same episode. Two grown-ups off the show at once, one replaced by a younger, hotter guy. Since this isn't a telenovella, and their audience is primarily skewing older (and I'm an old fart), I like older character actors in supporting roles. I was just as pissed when they offed Olinsky on P.D. last season.
  10. S07.E05: A Volatile Mixture

    The problem Granny would face would be a flashover. As was explained, if you give fire a breath of oxygen, the smoke and combustible gasses will essentially cause a controllable, survivable fire to become an unsurvivable inferno in less than ten seconds. Since they had water, though, I don't see why they didn't use the door and lead with the hand line, fogging the ceiling to cool it down, with another member of the crew stationed at the door to keep it as close to closed as possible (with the hose still inside). Also the roof was already compromised so the risk of a flashover would have already be minimized. The danger is always when some yahoo opens a door without having water at the ready, and that wasn't the case this time. All in all, a good job, and congrats to the actors for making it look good. I really did like the idea of a small hole, pop the line through and hit it that way. And yeah, Casey would be in a multiverse of hurt for allowing himself to be quoted.
  11. S01.E02: Crash Course

    From an old friend of mine who was on the Toronto Police Force a lifetime ago, that scenario is precisely in their training. Armed perp in a basement. He said every single trainee who goes through the simulation "dies" in a paintball-splattered uniform if they go in alone or with a partner. There is (or at the time, was) one and only one correct response. Radio in for the ETF (Emergency Task Force, aka SWAT, aka the Extra-Tough F---ers). I would also add that in close quarters, a shotgun blast is deafening so Nolan would have been disoriented, out of his element, and very definitely prey in that scenario. Your mileage may vary. Mine certainly does :) As for the show, I like it. I like procedurals (granted my background is more on the FD side of the ledger). If you're going to focus on a rookie patrolman and have any credibility in that regard then you've really got to show the routine calls, booking, traffic sumonses, etc. There's still plenty of good storytelling to be had there and I hope they go there. From the pilot, where the training officer goes "Bang. I've been shot, where are we?" I first saw it when I was a teenager watching Adam-12, only to find out from friends it's absolutely a very real-life training exercise. And speaking of Adam-12, this is honestly the first cop show I've seen in ages that comes close, albeit adrenaline'd up for the modern era. I hope they can keep it both fun and serious, and not fall into cliché hell. What I'm concerned with is what happens if the show is a runaway success audience-wise and it gets a second, third, and fourth season. He won't be a rookie by that point. Maybe this should have been conceived and marketed as a limited-run one-off series. Follow Nolan's journey from bank floor victim, through the academy, his time as a rookie patrolman, and finally his promotion to Detective. As for the relationship with a co-worker, that's poison, plain and simple. Forget the age difference, dating a fellow service member (PD, FD, etc) who's in your platoon, your watch, etc, is a recipe for Bad Things To Happen, especially if the relationship goes sideways later on, or one of the partners ends up as the other's subordinate after a promotion. I get it, fun TV drama and all, but it's a Bad Thing in my book. And if they're going to insist on it happening, I'm all for him dating the Captain. I like her.
  12. Dear ghods, I could feel my brain cells dying off one by one tonight. Everybody phoned this one in, writers and cast alike. Look, I get it. This isn't a Critic's Choice Drama Presentation. Fine. But at least make the characters be deserving and work hard for their Happily Ever After. The Paris thing should have been a last-minute reveal when all seemed hopeless for them both. The ruby thing was probably the dumbest plot contrivance ever aired on TV. The festival-of-the-week thing was ridiculous, and the never-mentioned-before-and-will-never-be-heard-from-again wishing well can just implode into whatever dimension from which it was spawned and take everybody with it. Cayenne pepper sprinkled on the ugliest pumpkin pie in the universe? Dear ghods. That unicorn would be $#!++ing out glitter non-stop for a month. Why not just leave the secret ingredient a secret? As for Not-Mayor Martha, that's a plotline that can't be rescued until TheBigWedding™ happens; The Tinsdales move into the Radfords' house when Sam and Nick move next door. Meaning Martha can ingratiatiate herself into the Happy Couple's lives even more now. Maybe then, in a twist of plot-fate, we find out Cassie really is a witch. Martha barges in just as Cassie's about bend Sam over the double-secret Great Pumpkin of Middling Middletonian Mediocraty (which only grows in the Grey House back yard), and she turns Martha into a toad. Seriously, Hallmark, can you please hire writers who can rub two red brain cells together and come up with a cogent plot for Season 5? OK, we get it. Twoo Wuv. Awwww. Now how 'bout some substance to go along with all that gooey treacle? And some continuity, perhaps?
  13. S07.E04: This Isn't Charity

    So...demote him, transfer him to an unfamiliar piece of apparatus (the union would just love that) doing a job he probably hasn't done for a decade or more. Yeah, that'll make him hate Boden and the house for plot purposes.
  14. S07.E04: This Isn't Charity

    Unlikely. They'd be assigned by HQ, although perhaps if a commanding officer really wants (or doesn't want) someone that will play into the assignment. Departments have training divisions and if you're qualified you get assigned to a company. You may or may not have a say where you go. Guys often want to go to houses that will see a lot of fire action, or maybe close to home if they have young children, etc, and that plays in to who works where. Not really unlike other de-centralized public employers like police departments, public works, railways, etc. You then spend your time honing your craft. You drill regularly, do inspections, learn your gear inside and out, practice approved new techniques, etc, so when it's time to roll you act on instinct and it's all second nature. That's why a member of a ladder company becoming boss on an engine overnight is just Not Right. I get it, for dramatic reasons it makes sense but it's one of those things that make the willing suspension of disbelief increasingly more difficult.
  15. S02.E04: Awful People

    I remember the one from Detroit. There were a few in NYC that were bad, too. It happens occasionally. It's why I could never be an intake operator. And don't forger about language barrier issues either! It also happens on the road. One EMS crew in NYC ducked a child in distress call for something like 20 minutes. Kid died. Never did find out what ultimately happened to those two in the bus, but I hope it involved some quality BubbaTime.